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Utah's northern mountains
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Utah’s northern mountains under extreme avalanche danger

Photo courtesy of Getty Images. Snow capped Wasatch mountains under a full moon. Mount Timpanogos can be seen towering over Utah city lights glowing in Lehi, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, and Lindon.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Utah Avalanche Center says the avalanche danger for Utah’s northern mountains is extreme, which is the highest rating the center uses in its danger scale.

“Anybody going into or even near the mountains today should avoid being near or under any slope steeper than 30 degrees.” Utah Avalanche forecaster Nikki Champion said.

“So that doesn’t just mean backcountry skiers, snowmobilers, or riders. That means anybody running or sledding or walking their dog,” she said.

 

“Most of the state is under an avalanche warning but specifically for the Salt Lake and the Uinta area mountains”, Champion said,” slides are certain.”

She says the conditions in Utah’s mountains bring the potential for the slides to run longer, faster and farther.

“Basically everything that could go wrong is going wrong.” She said.

Recently, four backcountry skiers lost their lives in an avalanche in Millcreek. Officials are not taking any chances with snow lovers going beyond the marked trails, with some ski resorts shutting down

Utah’s northern mountains are receiving copious amounts of snow this week. 

“We’ve got a really weak snowpack we got a ton of new snow and we have really high winds. So we could have avalanches on that weak snowpack, we could have avalanches on that new snow, and we could have avalanches in that wind drifted snow, and that wind and snow is going to add a load to that already weak snowpack,” Champion explained. 

The Utah Avalanche Center is recommending avoiding all avalanche terrain. They say staying on low-angle terrain is the safest option.